cover image The Lightkeepers

The Lightkeepers

Abby Geni. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $25 (340p) ISBN 978-1-61902-600-1

The strange and desolate Farallon Islands serve as the backdrop for this evocative and enchanting debut novel. Geni transports us to this jagged, treeless archipelago off the coast of San Francisco to explore a single house, inhabited by five biologists, an intern, and the narrator%E2%80%94a nature photographer named Miranda. Wherever she travels, Miranda writes letters to her dead mother, revealing parts of herself that remain hidden to the rest of the world. While she photographs the elephant seals, whales, sharks, and birds, the looming danger of the ocean and the islands themselves force Miranda to rely on her often elusive housemates. There is Galen, the longest resident, who is a shark specialist; Mick, the amiable whale biologist; Charlene, the young, enthusiastic intern; and Lucy, a private but determined ornithologist. A series of mysterious accidents and injuries augur more surprises during Miranda%E2%80%99s tumultuous stay on the islands. Geni (The Last Animal) writes with the clear, calm confidence of a master storyteller. This is a haunting and immersive adventure, set in an unforgettable, wild habitat of its own. (Jan.)